This November, voters face a stark choice that will determine the entire direction of their future lives. And it could be a long wait for results, as election officials go through the long process of counting this year’s many mail-in ballots.
I’m speaking, of course, about the mayoral election in Regina, where eight challengers are facing off against incumbent Michael Fougere in the race for City Hall. And one of the issues at stake is whether to build a new arena for the junior-hockey Regina Pats, at an unknown public cost. The idea was first floated by mayoral candidate and current city councillor Jerry Flegel about a month ago, and now many of the candidates have been chiming in:
- Former amateur hockey and fastener-supply salesperson Darren Bradley: “I threw [out] the idea of a new arena the first day it was mentioned to me, on my Facebook page, on Sept. 23, that will occupy some empty space. That’s one idea that will rejuvenate the core and help the businesses around there and throughout the city, long term.”
- Flegel: “I am proposing the development of a new entertainment and sports facility in the core of the downtown area. The facility will draw entertainment, concerts, and sporting events year round to the City of Regina, which will grow the city’s economy substantially.”
- Guy with an adorable handmade sign George Wooldridge: “I am also shocked that fellow mayoral candidates want to build another sports facility when we haven’t paid for the existing one. We must look at all options to ensure the stadium does not become an ongoing fiscal burden.”
Okay, okay, so that’s not the only election going on. There’s also a momentous decision being faced by voters across the border — the border between Regina and its Saskatchewan neighbor Saskatoon, which is facing its own decision on whether to build a new arena for the Blades (junior hockey), Rush (lacrosse), and Rattlers (minor-league basketball), also at uncertain public cost. While the current city government has been in favor of the plan, Saskatoon’s six mayoral candidates are split, with their positions roughly being: we should have built a combined arena and library; nobody can get to a downtown arena with our lousy transit; a new arena will only siphon off business from existing locations, so let’s build it in a different part of the city maybe?; downtown growth is good; Saskatoon needs “an arena, convention centre or whatever” to bring people downtown; and need new arena soon!!!
I’m sure you’ll be watching as the returns roll in from Saskatchewan, plus any other electoral races that might be of mild concern. Vote early and vote often, and hope you’ve stocked up on your election supplies!